Tube trains have made their first test trips along the Northern line extension to Battersea over the Christmas break.

Test train at Nine Elms (c) TfL

The Northern line passenger trains entered the new 3.2km tunnels at Kennington, travelling through the newly constructed step-plate junction that connects the existing Northern line tunnels to the extension. The trains then continued to Nine Elms Tube station before arriving at the extension’s second new station at Battersea Power Station. They then turned around using the new crossover junction to complete the journey back to Kennington.

Battery-powered engineering trains have travelled through the Northern Line extension since last Summer, but this was the first trial of a powered passenger train down the tunnels.

Stuart Harvey, TfL’s Director of Major Projects, said: “Seeing a Northern line train travelling through the extension for the first time is a really significant milestone and demonstrates the commitment of our brilliant team who have been working so hard during such a challenging year.”

Test train at Nine Elms (c) TfL

Work to finish the extension is now focused on completing necessary signalling software upgrades and the fit-out of the two new stations – at Nine Elms and Battersea. The extension was due to open last year remains on target for its revised completion in the autumn of this year.

The £1.2 billion extension is being funded by a mix of developer contributions and borrowing against future business rates to be collected from the Nine Elms Enterprise Zone that was set up in 2016 and due to exist for 25 years.

Extension map


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  1. Chris Bond says:

    This is exciting news! I also had a peek at the re-landscaping work at Kennington Green. Mature trees are being planted along with the promise of a daffodil heavy green mound. Lovely!

  2. Anthony Amah says:

    All that work for sake of an extension of two stations. It might as well have been extended to Clapham Junction making more sense.

    • ianvisits says:

      Makes a lot less sense – the Northern line would never be able to cope with the huge numbers of people wanting to use it at Clapham Junction.

  3. Greg Beecroft says:

    I think the line deliberately does not go to Clapham Junction. If it did it would deliver even more people onto the Northern Line and it is likely people at Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms probably would not be able to get on the train in the morning peak.

  4. David B says:

    Most commuters using CJ are coming from the west or south. They can normally remain on their train until Vauxhall or Victoria to then join the tube network.
    Another option might have been to connect the two stations to Vauxhall but N line gives more options

  5. Liam says:

    A well written article and thank you Ian. I have often wondered when they will settle on the actual name for the Station at the end of this extension. It’s been Battersea, Battersea Station and now Battersea Power Station (which won’t fit on the front of any train).

    As it’s going to be close to Battersea Park Station and likely interchange with it at street level. Wouldn’t it cause less confusion to do something like had to happen with Shepherds Bush and its two stations. For years there were two and in different places. This caused no end of confusion to the emergency services, who would sometimes have to take a guess at which one they’d been called to by local knowledge of whether the nature of call mentioned stairs or escalators (only one had escalators). I really think that the name needs to be settled on fairly quickly. Members of the public frequently don’t know the full postal addresses of places and often don’t know which of two places with the same name they’re standing at.

    I also note that the platform at Nine Elms is straight and suitable for the glass screen protective doors to be included. Like on the new end of the Jubilee Line extension. Does anyone know if there are plans for these to be installed here and at Battersea as it’s a new build?

    • Jude says:

      There are no plans to fit platform edge doors along the Northern Line extension as the 1995 stock trains are not compatible with them and fitting an entire fleet with the systems required for 2 stations would be a waste of money.

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